Luxuries & Necessities
Best alternative to waxing
Beauty by Thread
While threading as a form of facial-hair removal has been around for thousands of years in India, China and the Middle East, it used to be that in Sacramento you could only find a threader through Indian kith and kin who made house calls. But for the past three months, the Beauty By Thread kiosk at Galleria of Roseville has made the art available to non-Indians. Newcomers can watch a clip of owner Kulveer Kaur threading a model’s eyebrows by twisting cotton thread to pluck out her tiny hairs. The smooth finish generally lasts as long as any other epilation methods (three weeks on average), but avoids the messy sugars or wax often used in American salons. It’s tingly for some, painful for others, but the chance that it’ll sting or leave redness is much lower than with tweezing or waxing. And if you’re bothered by the stares of curious mall-goers, get over yourself—they’re just checking out the threads. 1151 Galleria Boulevard, inside the mall next to Paradise Bakery. L.H.
Best blog for new recipes
When blogger Fethiye Akbulut Miller moved to the states back in 1995, she couldn’t stop craving the tastes of her native Turkish cuisine. Over the years, she learned how to put together traditional Turkish dishes using ingredients that she could find on her local market shelves. Since 2005, Fethiye has been sharing her experience, and her delicious recipes in both English and Turkish, at YogurtLand.com. YogurtLand isn’t limited Turkish food, though most of its recipes have their basis in Turkish culinary traditions, and don’t let the name deter you vegans: There are plenty of recipes that you can enjoy, too. From “artichoke and fava beans, in olive oil” and negerek— a cassarole-like dish with zucchini, rice and cheese—to tips on making home-made yogurt or watermelon juice, Yogurtland is the place to find simple, out of the ordinary dishes for your table. And unlike a cook book, Fethiye is always ready to answer any questions. www.yogurtland.com. E.D.
Best creative recycling scheme
Inspired by the Native American Heritage Comission
Though the first tribal ceremonies on local soil that included rabbit skins, stuffed eagles and buffalo horns occurred many, many, many moons ago, today’s game-fattened tribes still incorporate dead animals/parts into their modern spiritual happenings. Thank the Sacramento-based Native American Heritage Commission for that. Previously, the rules of (paleface) society made the acquisition of creatures for tribal services problematic; even possessing former living beasties was against the law. Then, this past June, the commission inspired a deal between the California Department of Fish and Game and the Susanville Indian Rancheria of California and Greenville Rancheria to allow tribes to receive critters that had been poached or otherwise deceased for legal ceremonial and spiritual purposes. Not only does that free up time, energy and space for the poor government schmucks who used to dispose of the animals, it also allows tribes to keep passing their sacred traditions on to future generations. 915 Capitol Mall, Room 364; (916) 653-4082, www.nahc.ca.gov. M.C.
Best ethnic indulgence during America’s pastime
Churros at Raley Field
Take me out the ball game, take me out to West Sac. To hell with the peanuts and Cracker Jacks, churros are the best River Cats snack. Because they’re warm, warm, warm, rolled in sugar. Even cold we like ’em the same. Cause they’re south, south, south o’ the border at the old ball game. 400 Ballpark Drive, West Sacramento, www.rivercats.com. A.R.
Best gourmet grocery store for the cultured consumer
Andy Warhol may have thought the plain old Campbell’s Soup can was an interesting consumer statement. But he’d clearly never set foot in Mediterranean Market. A pyramid stack of giant, bright green Turkish pickle cans gleam so cheery from the store window, you can’t help but pull your car off Fulton Avenue to enter one of the most exciting gourmet grocery stores in Sacramento. You want olives? Well, would you like them from Jordan, Turkey, Greece or Lebanon? Looking to buy a hookah? You’ll want to decide between beautiful etched crystal bases from the Czech Republic, Lebanon and beyond. From Halaal meats to olive oils from across the Mediterranean to gorgeously detailed dishware that’ll send your Pottery Barn mugs straight to the garage-sale bin, Mediterranean Market is as much a foodie education as it is a shopping experience. Better yet, the Market’s clean, vibrant interior—with foods packaged so beautifully you’ll want to display them on your countertops—makes it a place of pride and unity for the Mediterranean-American community in Sacramento. “If you go back to the history, not everyone likes to talk to one another,” said co-owner Bassam Abughazaleh. “But when you come to this store, everyone likes to talk to one another.” 1547 Fulton Avenue, (916) 972-1237. E.P.
Best international transportation idea
Human-powered transport is nothing new in other parts of the world, where gasoline is actually market-priced and cars are far too expensive for most people to afford. Travelers will see it throughout Asia, Africa and the Indian subcontinent as an affordable alternative to crowded and unpredictable mass transit. But some bicycle cabs—or bicycle rickshaws—are transportation of choice, not necessity. In fact, one of the selling points for Sacramento Velocab’s employees is that they can train for athletic events and earn a bit of scratch while they’re at it. The big advantage for passengers is a human-speed view of town that doesn’t pollute. You don’t have to idle an engine when you want to look for a minute or two. Velocab operates on the grid—Old Sac, downtown and Midtown—from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Potential passengers can either flag down an empty cab or call one of the cell phones that drivers carry to arrange pickup. Yeah, the hours are limited, but it’s a sure bet that as the eco-friendly cabs catch on, the service will expand. Check it out—if not as a passenger, then as a driver. Pedal power is the way to beat the peak—oil, that is. (916) 265-8640, (916) 265-8641, (916) 265-8686; www.ridevelocab.com. K.M.
“I’m Jewish and I’m proud. Hooray OyPod! My new nickname is Jewey and I am totally not offended if you call me that. I totally love Ramah. Go Machon 2006! It’s seriously gonna be the best unserious year ever … is that too redundant?” Sacramento transplant Danny Zeff loves Israel. Listed among people he’d like to meet are Steven Spielberg, God, Smooth-E (Eric Schwartz) and Matisyahu. His favorite bagel is onion and favorite drink as Manischewitz. Yeah, he’s 15, but that doesn’t stop him. Given a choice between punk or rap, rap wins out, “but only if it’s Israeli,” he notes. A movie Fez wishes existed? “Happy Hanukkah Charlie Brown.” Read Fez’s MySpace while listening to the soothing sounds of Harel Moyal’s “Emtza Halaila Bak’far.” Or you can follow one of the many links, like the one to oyPod (www.myspace.com/oypod), the Jewish teen MySpace profile and podcast, or to his personal sites www.dannyzeff.com. www.myspace.com/ok2gowild. J.F.
Best place for exotic swag
Finding this little boutique is easy. Figuring out when it’s open is not. The only information on the door is a sign asking patrons not to bring in cell phones. The windows are filled with a variety of silver jewelry. If you pass by on a Saturday morning after the farmers’ market, you’ll probably catch the thick aroma of incense. Inside the store, every single corner is packed full with jewelry, clothes, llama’s wool goods and singing bowls. At first glance, you’re all alone. But hidden in the midst of merchandise is a rather gruff man behind a counter. Don’t worry, his demeanor is just a front. He’ll help you with anything you need, and you’ll probably leave the store knowing more about Tibet than you ever hoped to learn in your life. 239 G Street, Davis; (530) 758-3406. E.L.
Best place to be a lazy man
The Body Mind Center
Catalina Davis has been practicing Thai massage or Nuat Bo-Rarn since 1993, when she traveled to Thailand to learn the ancient healing art and fell in love with it. Known as “the lazy man’s yoga,” Thai massage is a combination of yoga-like stretch, compression and reflexology. Each session is done on the floor and lasts between 90 minutes and three hours. Thai massage repowers the 10 major energy lines and loosens tension throughout the body. Three massage therapists at the BodyMind Center—a Midtown business for 22 years now—practice Thai massage. Those who practice it in a more traditional way pray and chant before a session to honor Doctor Shivago, the father of traditional Buddhist medicine from 2,500 years ago. 2528 I Street, (916) 442-2639, www.catalinadavis.com. S.C.
Best place to buy a vegetable you’ve never met before
Sunday Asian market
Sure, we all know the treasures of the big farmers’ market under the freeway on Sunday morning. But just a few blocks away, there’s another market—less official, and probably a little less familiar. All the sellers I’ve seen there are Asian, from the squatting lady in a conical hat selling fat bunches of perfect long chives to the tofu makers, and most of the customers are, too. I saw Indian families with more bags than they could tote; sellers with tiny, round, green-striped eggplant; warty little green vegetables; greens I don’t know; and crisp Asian pears by the bushel, all priced to sell and nicely fresh. All this is in the parking lot of an apparently abandoned gas station, and it’s crowded: If you haven’t been, it’s high time you joined the crowds. 5th Street and Broadway. C.B.O.
Best place to go when Sac’s hotter than Mexico
On those dreadful summer days when Sacramento feels like one giant convectional oven, where do you turn? Don’t say “the air conditioner” and risk scornful glances from greenies who’d prefer to fry their own skin over the ozone layer. Say Los Jarritos. More specifically, the Mexican restaurant’s dessert freezer. From the ordinary (strawberry, watermelon) to the extraordinary (tamarind, sweet hibiscus and the at once chunky and creamy coconut bar), the Rainbow Popsicles at Los Jarritos deliver refuge for your parched, panting mouth. And speaking of that all-important sensory organ, might as well treat it to some amazing (and super inexpensive) authentic Mexican cuisine while you’re stopping by. It’s a good excuse to prolong your stay indoors. 2509 Broadway, (916) 455-7911. E.P.
Best small European sweet shop west of the Yolo Causeway
As you enter Ciocolat, take note of the white Italian marble tabletops, vases of fresh flowers, erudite ambiance. Now turn your attention to the sweets. Chocolate tarts, truffles and fruit and other pastries of all variety are displayed in a curved glass case. Don’t forget to ask for help in selecting an accompanying dessert wine, served by the glass. Lift it for a toast to the late Marilou Hedriana, a onetime pastry chief at San Francisco’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, who created this unique sweet shop. Located near the UC Davis campus, Ciocolat is exceptional for two reasons. No. 1: The place is famous for its wedding cakes. No. 2: High Tea is served seven days a week, by reservation only, and comes complete with hot English tea, savory cucumber sandwiches on doilies, and a delectable selection of cookies, tarts and, of course, chocolates. 301 B Street, Davis, (530) 753-3088, www.ciocolat.com. M.W.
Best place to learn an ancient language
Annunciation Greek School
Sure, English is the international language of commerce. And Spanish will no doubt be the official language of California during our lifetime. But Greek is the real deal, the vintage stuff, and has had a greater influence over Sacramento culture than you might think. Greek is, after all, the mother tongue of science, medicine and democracy. And without Greek, we’d have no senators, which would mean no Senate and no Assembly. And what would Sacramento be then? Dixon, that’s what. And, hey, the New Testament was first written in Greek, if you’re into that kind of thing. You can learn Greek at Annunciation Church Greek School. Classes are $50 a month for kids ($40 per year for members), and $150 a semester for adults (or $200 for the year). Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 3022 F Street. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (916) 443-2033 for more information. C.G.
Europa Food Market
The Europa Food Market in West Sacramento looks and feels like any other small grocery store, with its neatly arranged aisles and pop-rock radio playing lightly in the background. But with just one look at its shelves, you’ll realize this isn’t Raley’s. Europa specializes in Eastern European foodstuffs, with a wide variety of meats, seasonings, desserts and pastries. The bakery is perhaps the most impressive, with a broad selection of bread (German especially), cakes and candies. If you enjoy sausage, there’s plenty to choose from in the deli, including various types of kielbasa. And if you’re afraid you won’t be able to read any of the labels, don’t be—most of them have English translations. 3049 West Capitol Avenue, (916) 372-9000. R.S.
Best Spanish beauty secret
Morrocco Method Boar Bristle Brushes
The Family Solars of Girona, on the Bravo Coast in Spain’s Catalan region, make all-natural hair brushes made from boar bristles. Their products are cruelty-free, as the boars are sheared and not killed. Their workmanship on their fine Spanish brushes, which are exported to more than 40 countries worldwide, is referred to as the Morrocco Method. Pricier, fancy schmancy brushes have blond bristles, while the more affordable standard issues are basic boar black. Morrocco Method Boar Bristle Brushes are available at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, 1900 Alahambra Boulevard., (916) 455-2667, www.morroccomethod.com. C.B.O.
Best place to learn where the bathroom is in Chinese
Sacramento City College
So you want to travel? Go eastward—beyond Nevada, past North Carolina, and when you reach New England, go further yet. In fact, don’t stop until you find the bustling city of Hong Kong (you might need an airplane ticket.) Set down your bags and take it all in. What’s that? You have to pee?
Back up for a second. Maybe you should learn the language before you strap on your fanny pack.
The solution to the language barrier is at Sacramento City College. Using pronunciation drills, sentence pattern analysis, reading, writing and speaking, you can learn either the traditional Mandarin or widely spoken Cantonese dialects. Classes range from elementary to intermediate and focus not only on language but on Chinese culture as well.
So how do you say “Where’s the bathroom?” in Chinese? Not sure. For now, if you make a desperate face and point to your crotch, someone’s bound to help you out.
Fall semester is in full-swing, but you have until January 28 to enroll in spring classes.
Sacramento City College Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, 3835 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 558-2551; www.scc.losrios.edu/programs/foreignlang.html.
Best Places to spot (or hunt) yuppies, from A to Z
Allure Salon and Spa, 2115 J Street, Suite 102, (916) 446-1234. Bandera, 2232 Fair Oaks Boulevard, (916) 922-3524. Cal Expo, any night Huey Lewis and the News are playing the State Fair, 1600 Exposition Boulevard, (916) 263-3000. Davis (city of), Yolo County, California. Emigh’s Casual Living, 3535 El Camino Avenue, (916) 486-9500. Frasinetti’s Winery & Restaurant, 7395 Frasinetti Road, (916) 383-2447. The Golf Club at Whitehawk Ranch, 768 Whitehawk Drive, Clio, (530) 836-0394. The Home Theater Company, 4250 Power Road, (916) 457-5504. Il Fornaio, 400 Capitol Mall, (916) 466-4100. J & J German Auto Repair Shop, 8533 Clovely Lane, (916) 381-0627. Kidwells Glass, 9353 Greenback Lane, Orangevale; (916) 961-6917. Lexus of Sacramento, 2600 Fulton Avenue, (916) 485-3987. The Marina, generally the Sacramento County and Yolo County sides of the Sacramento River from The Alamar Marina Restaurant and Bar at the north to Clarksburg Marina in the south. Nathan Michaels Salon, Inc.; 7485 Rush River Drive, Suite 630; (916) 424-4331. Ornamental Iron Outlet, 8541 Thys Court, (916) 383-6340. Paradyme Sound and Vision, 2030 Douglas Blvd., Suite 40; Roseville; (916) 780-9400; 1732 Fulton Avenue, Sacramento; (916) 971-3600. Queen of Tarts Bakery Cafe, 3608 McKinley Boulevard, Sacramento, (916) 451-3102. Roseville Galleria, 1151 Galleria Boulevard, Roseville; (916) 787-2000. The Skyline Restaurant at Arco Arena, 1 Sports Parkway, (916) 928-6900. Trader Joe’s, 2625 Marconi Avenue, Sacramento; (916) 481-8797; 5000 Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento; (916) 456-1853; 9670 Bruceville Road, Elk Grove; (916) 686-9980; 5309 Sunrise Boulevard, Fair Oaks; (916) 863-1744; 850 East Bidwell, Folsom; (916) 817-8820; 1117 Roseville Square, Roseville; (916) 784-9084. Unique Salon & Spa, 8325 Elk Grove Florin Road, Ste. 300, Sacramento, (916) 689-3555. Valley William Glen Gifts & Collectibles, Town & Country Village, Fulton and Marconi avenues; (916) 485-3000. Woodruff, O’Hair, Posner & Salinger, Inc. (to sue his pin-striped trousers off in the divorce), 2251 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Suite 100, Sacramento, (916) 920-0211. Xtreme Theater, opens in December in Rooseville to yup up suburban homes with their own private movie theaters. Any Yellow Cab heading back and forth between downtown Sacramento and Sacramento International Airport, (916) 444-2222. Zocalo (especially Friday and Saturday nights), 1801 Capitol Avenue (916) 441-0303.
Bonus round: And coming any day now downtown, Bacchus Wine Bar. M.C.